Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

TSA equipment to stay at Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport

November 28, 2017
In The News

TSA equipment to stay at Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport

Security equipment at Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport will stay put as efforts to reclaim commercial air services continue.

Several Oregon lawmakers announced Monday that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening equipment would remain at the local airport for the duration. Rep. Greg Walden and others wrote a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Oct. 18 to first address the matter.

Along with Walden were signatures from Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden on the first letter. Monday’s release said the representatives “applauded” TSA’s decision to keep the equipment in place until further notice.

“This is great news that will help the airport’s recruitment process, and ensure they aren’t burdened by removing the equipment,” said Justin Discigil, communications director for Walden.

John Barsalou, airport director at Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, said he was thankful for the support from Oregon legislators and TSA on agreeing to keep the equipment in place.

“I was told that the TSA was going to leave the equipment in place until they heard from SkyWest or unless they had need for it from another airport,” Barsalou said.

With a decreased need for newer airports or other locations needing equipment, Barsalou said there was a low chance of any moves taking place.

Continued talks

Services from PenAir stopped in August shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy. Though no commitments have been made, airport and city officials have been in talks with SkyWest as they continue to evaluate their own plans to offer commercial services.

Sept. 14 reports from the Herald and News state that city and airport officials worked to create an $850,000 incentive package toward having SkyWest start their own commercial air services. The first pitch includes a commitment of $250,000 from Klamath Falls, $250,000 from Klamath County and another $250,000 from Sky Lakes Medical Center. In addition, another $100,000 pitch of “in-kind marketing services” came from an unnamed resource.

Barsalou said at the time that the incentive package is meant to attract the airline and provide enough support to ensure revenue goals can be met.

Upon agreement, SkyWest would fly 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet 200s between Klamath Falls and San Francisco. Expanded flights to Portland could also start depending on future demands.

Barsalou recently told the Herald and News that talks with SkyWest are set to resume in March or April 2018 after the company completes its own evaluations of the market.

One less struggle

Each loss of commercial air service in Klamath Falls came at times when government resources for airports appear to be slim. Though there are airports funded through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program nationwide, Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport cannot join since the EAS program shut off new airport entrances in 2011, according to Barsalou.

But Barsalou said he and other officials continue to look into ways they could help fund and assist commercial air services for the future. Barsalou added that having the TSA equipment on-site would be one less struggle they would have to work with moving forward.

“We’re thankful for the TSA for leaving the equipment in place,” Barsalou said.

The first letter from Oregon legislators outlines a need for commercial air service in Klamath Falls, describing commercial air services as a “critical asset” for the economy.

“The local community understands well the diverse benefits that air service provides,” the Oct. 18 letter reads. “That’s why they are working to find a replacement.”